Pilot error blamed for Lewis-McChord helicopter collision

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — An investigation into December's collision of two helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord cites pilot and air traffic control errors and "dark spots" in aviation communication.

The initial investigation by Lewis-McChord's 16th Combat Aviation Brigade says one pilot of a Kiowa helicopter should have seen and avoided the other. Four soldiers were killed in the crash in rural Thurston County.

The News Tribune reports the crash is still under investigation by the Army Combat Readiness and Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Lewis-McChord has 143 copters in its active-duty fleet.